March 23, 2011
Teachers have been getting a bad rap for years. I’ve already outlined how educators don’t get the kind of pay people think they do, but there’s another reason it’s easy to blame teachers for failing education and make them scapegoats for everything from union trouble to state budgets.
We’ve set up a system where teachers are unfairly judged and given expectations no person could possibly match.
Let me give you a few examples.
If police were held to the standards of teachers, we would fire them after five years if their respective districts didn’t lower crime. Fresh out of the academy, these police would be required to make sure crime dropped by significant levels. Their tools to make sure communities don’t eat each other?
Drills. They would teach people what to do in an emergency, so, when the time comes, they know a few options that are limited to standard responses. Police would not really patrol or investigate. They would go around and make sure everyone knew the drills and, if anyone didn’t, that citizen would be arrested for endangering the community.
Police would host seminars and workshops to make sure everyone knows the proper responses to fire, shootings, and car accidents and that’s it. People would complain that there are many more emergencies than these and a set of general, adaptive skills would be more beneficial than just practicing the equivalent of stage directions, but the police would have none of that.
Teachers have to teach students in order to pass mandated testing. The mandated curriculum leaves little for actual critical thinking skills, questions, or improvisation. This is what people mean when they say “teaching to the test.”
How long did you remember the information in a test after you took it?
If doctors were held to the standards of teachers, every doctor would be mandated to treat twenty to forty patients a day. Doctors would have one year to make sure each patient met certain guidelines: cholesterol, body fat, and blood pressure. These doctors would have to make sure their patients all had the appropriate levels of these three things, and we would declare said patients healthy at the end of that year.
But, the doctors would cry out, these are not proper indicators of health! There are so many other variables that must be taken into consideration-
And they would be hushed because, say the hospital administrators, after that year, that patient is no longer your responsibility. These are the standards we’ll use, and you will stick to them.
The doctors would cry out that the patients have red meat, smoke, drink, and don’t exercise and only really work at health and act healthy during check-ups. And the hospital administrators would get after the doctors for the health habits of patients at home.
Teachers can teach as much as they want, give homework and encouragement, but students are ultimately responsible for studying and preparing themselves. It’s a two-way street. Teachers “give bad grades” like doctors give “negative prognoses.”
If the military were held to the same standard as teachers, they would be given a very specific timetable for all major operations. Wars would last no more than a few months and, at the end of that time, whether done or not, the military would pull out of a foreign country. All goals would have to be achieved, and if the military failed, they would be reprimanded and defunded until they got it right or were all fired and replaced with fresh new recruits.
And, in order to balance the budget, soldiers would have to buy their own ammunition. Sailors would need to purchase their own life jackets. Marines would need to buy scopes for their own sniper rifles.
Teachers face penalties if they don’t live up to expectations, but the penalties schools receive for unsatisfactory testing end up crippling the school and make it harder to teach as classes swell and funding disappears. Many educators have to buy their own supplies, out of pocket, to have a proper class.
Am I saying teachers are not to blame for any of the educational problems in this country? Of course not. Teachers have to live up to their end of the bargain. But as we cut benefits, pay, time, and force teachers to become little more than machines to spit out test answers for students in a curriculum that bears no relation to real life, we have to ask ourselves…
If we think of teachers as nothing but babysitters, why do we heap all these duties and responsibilities on them? And if they’re not teachers, but mentors and guides, why do we make it so hard for them to do their job?
- This looks really gimmicky, but damn if I don’t want to at least try vampire wine.
- Amazingly, it looks like people are happier working in the military than working for Disney. Who knew?
- You know me. I loves me a good a drink, so here are some literary lines you can toast to.
- If you’re watching a movie, always be careful of little girls. Especially when said girls are trained assassins whose only purpose in life is to kill and main government operatives.
- Ladies and gentlemen… lesbians. That is all. You may go about your day now.
- Now, I’m not a video gamer, although I play Wii with friends once in a while, but I can’t imagine ever being so obsessed over a game that I do this and land in the hospital.
- Billy Corgan celebrated his birthday this week, so let’s go over a few things you may not have known about this musician.
- Everyone has listened to or watched the “Friday” song and music video, but guess what? As much as I hate it, there are people with even worse lyrics. Beiber and Gaga are among them.
- I’m all for gender-neutral inclusion, but you really can’t do that sort of thing with classic literature.
- It’s one thing to Photoshop an image to correct mistakes. it’s another to give the woman way more bust than she was willing to show.
- What do children think of the Lovecraft Mythos? Check out these Lovecraft-inspired children’s drawings.
- And finally, just because I really need something so utterly cute that it will make this week feel better, I give you a puppy dancing salsa. See you Friday!